Facebook reverses course on banned Robinhood trading group

Chicago Business Barometer Unexpectedly Jumps To More Than Two-Year High

Chicago-area business activity unexpectedly grew at a faster rate in the month of January, according to a report released by MNI Indicators on Friday.

MNI Indicators said its Chicago business barometer jumped to 63.8 in January from a downwardly revised 58.7 in December, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in regional business activity.

The increase by the business barometer surprised economists, who had expected the index to edge down to 58.5 from the 59.5 originally reported for the previous month.

With the unexpected increase, the Chicago business barometer reached its highest level since July of 2018.

The continued advance by the headline index came as the production index spiked by 9.9 points to its highest level since January of 2018.

The new orders index also surged up by 7.9 points to its highest level November of 2018, reflecting an improvement in demand.

On the other hand, the report said the employment index slid by 4.5 points, remaining below 50 for the nineteenth straight month.

MNI Indicators also asked respondents how the recent increase in Covid-19 infection rates is affecting business.

Fifty percent reported a mild negative impact, while 31.8 percent had no impact on their activity and 15.9 percent noted a strong negative effect. Just 2.3 percent saw a strong positive impact.

Biden says action on COVID-19 stimulus needed "now"

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during an economic briefing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2021. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden said on Friday that Congress needs to take immediate action on his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal, adding that economists overwhelmingly believe additional economic stimulus is needed.

“We have to act now,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

FDA Approves Aurinia Pharma’s Lupkynis – Second Lupus Nephritis Drug In A Month

The FDA has approved Aurinia Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s (AUPH) LUPKYNIS in combination with a background immunosuppressive therapy regimen to treat adult patients with active lupus nephritis.

LUPKYNIS, generically known as voclosporin, becomes the second FDA-approved therapy for lupus nephritis, with the first being GlaxoSmithKline plc’s (GSK) BENLYSTA, which was approved as recently as last month.

Aurinia’s LUPKYNIS is administered orally while BENLYSTA is administered intravenously (IV) or subcutaneously.

The global peak sales of LUPKYNIS are estimated to be in excess of $1 billion, according to the company.

Lupus nephritis is an inflammation of the kidney caused by Systemic Lupus Erythematosus – resulting in irreversible kidney damage and increasing the risk of kidney failure, cardiac events, and death. It is estimated that lupus nephritis affects about 200,000 people in the U.S.

AUPH closed Friday’s trading at $14.86, down 2.17%.

New York City Shows Slowest Wage and Salary Growth in Five Years

Wages at private employers in the New York City region grew at the slowest pace last year since 2015, and expanded at the fastest clip in at least a decade in four other metro area.

Wages and salaries at private businesses increased by 1.8% in the NYC area on an unadjusted basis for the12-month period ended in December 2020, the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statisticsreported Friday. Across the U.S., wages and salaries increased 2.9%. Among the largest 15 metro areas, only Miami saw slower growth, with a 1.5% gain. Minneapolis-St. Paul, matched NYC’s 1.8% increase.

In four metros, wages grew at the fastest pace since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started compiling these records a decade ago. In the Los Angeles area, wages rose by 4.5%, with Seattle following at 4.1%, Washington at 3.9% and Philadelphia at 3.7%.

In Phoenix, wages grew by a rapid 4.2%, but shy of the 4.4% pace seen last summer.

Biden priority is dealing with Iran's growing fissile material stockpile: Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A critical early priority for the Biden administration is to deal with an escalating crisis with Iran as Tehran gets closer to having enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Friday.

“From our perspective, a critical early priority has to be to deal with what is an escalating nuclear crisis as they (Iran) move closer and closer to having enough fissile material for a weapon,” Sullivan told an online program sponsored by the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Facebook reverses course on banned Robinhood trading group

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Facebook reportedly shut down a popular Robinhood trading discussion group, alleging that the users had broken the site’s rules on sexual behavior — and then reopened it.

The group’s creator told Reuters that his 157,000 members were locked out of their Facebook channel on Wednesday and told that they had violated Facebook’s guidelines on “adult sexual exploitation.”

That move came as a social media-fueled rally in heavily shorted companies turned the stock market upside down, eventually prompting brokerages like Robinhood to begin limiting purchases on GameStop and other stocks in what users saw as an effort to stop retail traders from hurting hedge funds and other financial pros.

According to Reuters, the group’s users had made tens of thousands of dollars sharing advice and buying up stocks in the weeklong manic short squeeze.

After telling Reuters that the group “was removed for violating our Community Standards, unrelated to the ongoing stock frenzy,” Facebook has apparently removed the ban.

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